68.3 Miles per kilogram of H2
Hydrogen's not getting too much love these days, but it remains an important contender for the longer-term. Toyota has been working on its FCHV hydrogen Highlander for a while, and they recently took the latest version for a field test in California to see what the range would be like in real-world driving conditions.From Toyota:
In mid-2008, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Savannah River National Laboratory (SNRL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), approached Toyota to participate in a collaborative evaluation of the real world driving range of the FCHV-adv. On Tuesday, June 30, two fuel cell vehicles, two Toyota Technical Center engineers, an SRNL engineer and a NREL engineer completed a 331.5 mile extended round trip drive between Torrance, California and San Diego.
Driving range data from each vehicle was calculated by SRNL and NREL engineers. The results were averaged for an estimated range of 431 miles, with an average fuel economy of 68.3 miles/kg.
Check out this video. It's pretty self-explanatory:
One interesting thing I noticed: they say that there's about as much energy in a kg of hydrogen as in a US gallon of gasoline. This makes it very easy to compare the two, and shows just how much more efficient a fuel cell is at converting that energy to mechanical work than a gasoline engine. If something as big as a Highlander can get 68 miles per kg, a smaller and more aerodynamic vehicle could probably get a pretty high number.
What this doesn't take into account, though, is the energy that was used to compress the hydrogen...
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